The Logo You Want on Your Self-Driving Car, & 5 More Things to Know Today
• Most major automakers think the next big thing is going to be self-driving cars, and they're all angling for a piece of the action. But if you ask consumers who they'd prefer to buy those driverless vehicles from, it's not the familiar car companies at all: It's tech companies like Google (GOOG).
• You know the budget and debt ceiling talks must be getting serious now: Both the House and Senate will be in session today, even though it's a federal holiday, trying to strike a deal to reopen the federal government and dodge a catastrophic default.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%• More than one in five Americans is anxiously waiting to find out how big the annual cost-of-living adjustment to their benefit checks will be. And when the official news finally arrives (the government shutdown has delayed the report), they probably won't be pleased. For the second year running, retirees, the poor and the disabled should expect to see a historically small increase in their benefits: About 1.5 percent. One the plus side, though, that means inflation is in check. Food and fuel prices in particular haven't increased much this year.
• If you're like most American consumers, you've only heard about Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba as part of Yahoo's (YHOO) portfolio -- if you've heard of it at all. Expect that to change next year. Once it goes public in 2014, Alibaba is likely to take aim at Amazon's (AMZN) market in the U.S. Also EBay, PayPal, Rackspace and Yahoo. Bloomberg tells you everything you need to know.
• Fifteen years ago, Big Tobacco agreed to pay billions of dollars to settle the largest civil suit in U.S. history -- money that was supposed to be spent treating tobacco addiction and the health problems of smokers. But the money went to the states with no strings attached, and it appears much of it has been spent on programs having nothing to do with the affects of cigarettes
• And finally, we'd have to say it's not entirely unreasonable for an airline to ask a 518-pound man to pay for two seats when he flies: He's going to need the space. What is unreasonable: Trying to give him two seats that are two rows apart.